Times are tough when it comes to funding public education. State leaders have been reluctant to offer more money up for Texas schools while often shilling for unregulated private education schemes in the name of “school choice.” Students are often held hostage as the adults fight over the benefits of independent school districts as taxing authorities. Education suffers for the political gain of those in power.
To offset the state's shortcomings, help often comes through parent-driven organizations such as education foundations. Many small towns rely on them to fundraise for supplemental items that teachers need for their classrooms. Some might get iPads, software, books, or other related tools to broaden the minds of local youths.
Locally, the Gonzales ISD Education Foundation has stepped in to assist GISD campuses. They are preparing for their third annual casino night fundraiser Jan. 26 at the J.B. Wells Park Expo Center. Attendees can expect fun, games, food and drink while knowing that their admissions are going to a good cause.
“Casino Night will offer a steak dinner, three hours of casino style gaming, great prizes and a cash bar,” explained foundation head Amber Withers. “We will have craps, poker, blackjack, and roulette tables available. We have added more blackjack tables due to their popularity in previous years.”
She explained that each ticket comes with $1,000 in chips. Guests will be able to buy additional chips to play with throughout the night. At the end, chips will be exchanged for raffle tickets that can be used for guests to try their luck at winning prizes.
Withers is completing her fourth year on the education board, the second as its president.
“Being a part of the foundation has given me the opportunity to be involved in the community by helping to enrich the educational experience of the students of GISD through fundraising,” she said. “Our educators work hard to teach our kids. I am honored to help give back to them.”
The foundation awarded over $10,000 in grants this year. How it works is teachers apply to the foundation for items they feel will help their pupils in the classroom and a panel reviews the submissions to select recipients. Gonzales Primary Academy was the big winner in 2018 with seven teachers being awarded grants during a special assembly on Dec. 7. Those receiving the grants were Tiffany Lester, Jessica Bouler, Brenda Caldwell, Kaylin Petras, Jinna Lindemann, Rachelle Pearson, and Julie Belin.
It should be noted that the casino night is run by the education foundation solely. Gonzales ISD does not play a part in the organization of the event.
Tickets are available for pre-sale only and are not sold at the door. They are $50 and include dinner and the chips mentioned above. VIP tables are also available for $600 with reserved seating for 10 guests. Ticket locations will be made available in the coming weeks, but queries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.